the circular runner

My brain and the 405 Freeway–what they have in common…

In life, observations, Uncategorized, writing on July 23, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Being from LA, the land of Freeways, I grew up with traffic jams.  A lot of times, it was obvious why we were all stuck.  Up ahead, you could see what was left of a front fender or a headlight.  As you got closer, you could see a couple drivers on the side of the road comparing insurance policies, or the orange lights on a state trooper’s car.  OK, that makes sense.  But then there are those jams in which you are stuck until at some point–seemingly a random point–you start up again.  A few feet before, you weren’t parked, and then, POOF and you’re free again.  WHY does that happen?

I know there are book about this.  I believe from reading around the edges of this seeming modern-day mystery, that the explanation has something to do with group psychology.  Kind of like an ant colony in which all its members decide to do the same thing.  Mostly, ants move when this happens, which makes me wonder if we humans are so superior to our insect-friends cause we seem to like being stuck when our group-think instinct kicks in.

In any case, I was thinking about this today when I finally started doing research on literary agents for my short story collection.  Last month, I finally crafted the model for my query letter, and for most of July, I have put off actually doing the research on the agents because it just seemed so daunting.  There are so many agents, and they are all so specific about what they want.  It’s not like you can do a mass-mailer.  You have to craft each letter specifically to the person you’re writing.  In a sense, my brain was all jammed up.  I was stuck.  But then, this morning,  just like with the strange, causeless jam I referenced above, when I got down to work I realized that there was nothing in my way except…except…nothing.  I have been stuck for a month for no apparent reason.  Yes, there are a lot of agents, and yes, they are a picky lot (no offense to anyone out there who might be an agent, though if you are an agent, I do have a collection for you) but it’s doable  It’s all about one step at a time.

This isn’t to say that I think I’m limitless–that by just adjusting my thinking, I’d be on my way.  Sometimes, there are obstacles–sometimes a driver does turn into you, and sometimes, you suck and there’s just no way around that suckiness until you push through to a less-sucky place.  But it does make me wonder how much more I could do with my days if I let myself find out for myself what the cause of the jam is instead of worrying about what turns out to be nothing.


  1. nice buddy

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